Have you ever felt your feet come off the pedals while you’re jumping? Scary, right? This October, scary should be left for ghosts and goblins, not jumping your mountain bike. Here are the 5 key components to keeping your feet on the pedals and keeping your heart from racing.
The most common reason we see feet coming off the pedals is because the rider’s body is coming up faster than their bike, or the body is too stiff and ends up pushing the bike away from the body. When jumping, you have to allow the bike to travel upwards towards your body by bending your arms and legs and drawing the bike up towards you. This requires you to be relaxed, not tense.
*ATTENTION CLIPLESS RIDERS! People who ride clipped in to their pedals are often unaware that they’re relying on that clipped connection to bring the bike up in the air them them. It’s important that all riders, with both clipless and flat pedals, learn proper jumping technique for scalable success.
Maintain contact with your pedals by creating tension between your pedals and handlebars. This is achieved by pointing your toes down slightly and dragging backwards on the pedals (but not too hard, just a little should do it!)
Timing is everything. Compress down into your bike right before you begin the transition up the face of the jump. Practice perfecting this timing with a level lift. A level lift is when you bring both wheels off the ground at the same time (as opposed to just a front or rear wheel lift). Practice a level lift in a flat or slightly descending area. STOMP down on your pedals (compression) and allow both wheels and the bike to come up under you. They should come up evenly, hence the name “level” lift.
If your suspension isn’t set up correctly, it will make it more difficult to perfect the timing of the compression. Head over to Suspension Setup in 4 Easy Steps to get yours dialed.
4. Foot Placement (flat pedals)
You should place your foot on the pedal so that the axle of the pedal sits just behind the ball of your foot. This differs to how you would place your foot with clipless pedals and will help to prevent you from springing up and off of the pedals if you extend your foot downwards.
Good shoes and pedals are vital for maintaining contact with your bike. Purpose built bike shoes work far better than any kind of tennis or skate shoe and mountain bike-specific flat pedals (not the $10 plastic platform pedals) are a MUST for jumping. Good shoes and pedals are specifically designed to help everything stick together, when combined with proper technique.
Don’t forget, Ninja is here to help take the fear out of flight! Join us for a Jumping Mini Clinic for direct, real-time feedback from a certified instructor on how to break bad jumping habits, keep those feet on the pedals and soar with confidence.
I attended an intermediate skill clinic last year and had an awesome time. My riding improved instantly and I have...
I attended an intermediate skill clinic last year and had an awesome time. My riding improved instantly and I have really enjoyed the increased confidence jumping my bike over obstacles. My muscle memory takes a while to kick in and Coach Richard and his crew of master Ninjas were really patient with me. I even got some bonus education on climbing faster during one of our warm-up laps! Even though I have been riding for years I learned something new with every skill taught. The clinic was worth every penny and I will be signing up for an advanced one this summer. ~Michael W.
Went to the beginner Ninja clinic at Alison. Richard and Kristen were awesome! We all got the opportunity to work...
Went to the beginner Ninja clinic at Alison. Richard and Kristen were awesome! We all got the opportunity to work on improving our skills with their feedback. Next time I would definitely do the intermediate clinic or do a one-on-one session. Richard is super patient and provides great feedback and riding tips. ~ Lisa D.
My speed and confidence going down steep descents have been SIGNIFICANTLY improved!
I just had my first race (XC endurance) since I did the camp and both my speed and confidence going...
I just had my first race (XC endurance) since I did the camp and both my speed and confidence going down steep descents have been SIGNIFICANTLY improved. I would not have attempted 50% of the drops and jumps on the course prior to participating in the clinic, and my overall time would have been much slower. The first two hours of the class (int/adv Sedona) made the whole thing more than worth it, and the rest of the two days seemed like a bonus. Both Courtney and Richard were encouraging and patient, and both had that classic mountain biker charm and humor ready when the moment called for it. Overall a very enjoyable and valuable weekend. For reference, I participate in amateur XC endurance races (with no hope of ever coming close to winning anything) and have been riding for about two years. I was worried before taking the class that I would not be skilled enough, but the int/adv was appropriate for my skill level. If you're worried, just go for it anyway. There is a good mix of people and everyone was very friendly! ~Alana Bencivengo
The course was very fluid, engaging, and I would highly recommend it.
I took the intermediate/advanced course in Balboa Park after having ridden for just over 2 years on my own. It...
I took the intermediate/advanced course in Balboa Park after having ridden for just over 2 years on my own. It covered a wide breadth of skills, some of which I already felt aquatinted with and others I had little to no experience with. I found all of the material useful. I was able to improve skills I already had and was able to learn new skills. I also feel confident leaving the course that the instructors have provided all of the information for me to practice and improve outside of the course setting. The environment of Balboa Park was perfect for learning and sessioning the skills covered. The instructors were friendly, fun, and attentive to all of the participants. They spent more or less time on certain skills based on how the entire group was grasping them. They also gave individualized attention to participants that required more help with technique. The course was very fluid, engaging, and I would highly recommend it. ~Heather B.
We are a group of passionate, dirt-loving, community oriented, world class mountain bike skills instructors committed to helping you reach your personal riding goals through clinics and camps. We are excited to work with riders of all ability levels and share the joy (STOKE) of mountain biking.